Dear Marc Benioff… an open letter from a Millennial

Dear Mr. Benioff,

This week marks the start of the 2015 Dreamforce conference. As I write this, a population half the size of Pittsburgh is descending onto San Francisco to participate in one of the tech industry’s most-anticipated events.

But DF15 will only scratch the surface of what Salesforce has accomplished over the past 15 years. The tweet you sent out last week says it all: of the four CRM juggernauts, Salesforce is the only one on an upward trajectory. While Oracle and SAP have spent the past five years in decline – and Dynamics has remained behind the pack – you’ve put the pedal down, accelerating growth rate nearly two-fold.

There’s a reason for that, and it’s why I’m writing you here today. About five months ago, a new demographic became the market share leader in the American workplace. (I happen to be a part of it).

You may have heard of us – we’re called the Millennials. And I’m not sure which business sections you’ve been reading over the last year or two, but you probably came across a few of the thousand or so articles finding us to be underperforming and disengaged, disloyal mercenaries, hungry for direction and mentorship, tech-distracted and impatient, creative and collaborative, and unfairly maligned.

Take a poll of your middle management and I’ll bet they’ll say all of the above. They’re close, but as it turns out, we’re not actually mercenaries.

>See also: 10 ways to keep Millennials happy in the workplace

There’s both a tremendous need and opportunity here for the enterprise tech world. A common thread amongst many of the attributes ascribed to Millennials is a strong interest in technology, be it as a debilitating distraction (think Snapchat) or a powerful recruiting draw (think sales enablement tools).

The time is now for enterprise tech to focus on one critical question: how can we help companies better manage Millennials, using technology?

It’s an issue we must address. Overworked managers, tightened company budgets and a veritable flood of raw, unexperienced talent into the workforce are severely impairing Millennial training, engagement, coaching, direction, retention and overall growth across a number of industries.

That doesn’t bode well for Millennial employers, and it definitely doesn’t bode well for the generation that’s now saddled with more college loan debt than any in American history.

I don’t speak for all Millennials, of course, and a number of the issues plaguing us are ones we brought on ourselves. (I don’t know the exact man hours of productivity lost to GroupMe and Fantasy Football amongst my old college buddies, but I’m sure it’s staggering).

Those of us in enterprise tech must hear the challenges and frustrations facing both Millennials and their managers – and then figure out how we can help.

So 20 of the top Millennial-friendly technology companies have launched a campaign that will bring awareness to this issue. It’s called Save the Millennials.

We’re currently sourcing additional partners for our cause, but we want Salesforce in particular. There’s a reason you’re taking your competitors to the woodshed these past few years – Salesforce appeals to Millennials.

Your commitment to innovation (the App Exchange), “go big or go home” mentality (Dreamforce), and outspoken stances on key social issues (your crusade against discrimination) all resonate with our generation.

You understand the Millennial wavelength as well as any enterprise tech CEO I’ve seen, and I’m including those from my own generation in that assessment. So I beseech you to join our movement – we’re out to change enterprise software for the better.


Jeremy Boudinet

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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